Taking issue with badger cull
IT is good that James Stephen has taken the trouble to explain the reasons for the current slaughter of badgers taking place in this county but I would like to take issue with a couple of things he mentioned.
Isn't the increase in cattle testing positive for TB more to do with the increase in cattle numbers being tested than in the incidence of the disease?
While there may be a "long road ahead" there's also a long road behind us – the TB problem has been with us for some considerable time so I would like to know why there is no vaccine available for cattle by now?
A simple ear tag would identify vaccinated cattle.
The current test for bovine TB is very unreliable and a large number of cattle slaughtered as reactors are found to be free of the disease. By the same token carriers of TB can test negative so it must be possible that some exported cattle could be infected.
Is any work being done to improve this test?
To come up with an aim to reduce the incidence of TB by a "massive" – er – 16 per cent by shooting badgers – diseased or not – in the dark makes no sense and that's before considering the welfare issues, public resistance and the damage to the image of the farming industry.
At this rate of progress it will be one very long road indeed.